Great call by Limerick pupils who made phone pouches

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Sold-out: Parents, Dave and Roisin Fitzgerald buy two Homez 4 Fonz from Milford NS pupils, Cillian Frain, ILya Miklashevitch and Christan Story
THERE are already two entrepreneurs worth millions from Castletroy - and there could be 32 more.

THERE are already two entrepreneurs worth millions from Castletroy - and there could be 32 more.

Fifth-class pupils from Milford National School are aiming to follow the Collison brothers with their idea called Homez 4 Fonz.

The school is one of 26 across the city and county who are taking part in this year’s Junior Entrepreneur Programme. Homez for Fonz was launched by Mayor Michael Sheahan at their pop-up shop last week in Milford community gym.

Mayor Sheahan praised the children’s “enthusiasm and creativity”.

Sandra Larkin, teacher, said her class was guided by volunteer Product Design and Technology students from UL.

“The pupils developed a high grade leatherette pouch for storing mobile phones in bags or cases. The pouch clips to the inside of a bag, ending the dreaded scramble for a ringing mobile phone. The children gave Homez 4 Fonz pouches their individual stamp by customising them using various sticker patterns,” said Ms Larkin.

The handy phone holder was just one of a number of excellent ideas thought up by the imaginative boys and girls.

“It was selected from several creative business ideas by a Meet The Dragons panel including Siobhán Fenton, teacher; Nicole Twomey, head of Milford Parents Council and experienced Limerick businessman, David O’Mahony.

The school children’s idea was supported by local entrepreneur David Fitzgerald, of Fitzgerald Flowers, who offered advice on managing a business and attracting customers. The project was also endorsed by children’s author, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald.

“But the real champions of the project were volunteer mother and daughter partnership, Geraldine and Stacey Guerin who single-handedly taught all 32 children, classmates of their grandson and son, Josh Bond, to use sewing machines and make the Homez 4 Fonz product themselves. The talented duo set up four sewing machines in the classroom and oversaw the making of the products,” said Ms Larkin.

The launch - also attended by principal of Milford National School, Kathryn O’Mahony and Mary Fitzgerald of the Woodlands House Hotel - couldn’t have gone any better.

“The pop-up shop was a great success with the product selling-out entirely.

“The children plan to make a donation to Milford Care Centre with a portion of the profits from their business.

“The remainder of the proceeds will be reinvested in expansion of the Homez 4 Fonz enterprise with plans to diversify the product range to include iPad and kindle covers and to sell the product at local markets over the coming months,” said Ms Larkin.

Almost 700 primary school children in County Limerick are benefiting from the Junior Entrepreneur Programme which “opens young minds to the thrill of business while developing their skills and confidence”.

The project integrates with the existing curriculum but also give the opportunity to develop skills in IT, marketing, manufacturing, customer service and finance.